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Disruption Is New Normal Now and For Future of Work – Here’s What To Do About It

November 16, 2016

Disruption Is New Normal Now and For Future of Work – Here’s What To Do About It

We often think of disruption when we think about technological innovation.

The dictionary describes disruption as:

Disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process.

When we look at the year 2016 alone there have been multiple disruptions globally that have or will impact us now and into 2017.

The US election is an example of a disruption that affects everyone whether we are aware of it or not.

Earthquakes in Italy, the loss of major artists such as Leonard Cohen, the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner, and closer to home many people I know have lost a loved one, lost a job, or have a family crisis.

Collectively we are being tested with continual and ongoing disruptions – what does it mean for us individually and what does it mean for future of work?

There is opportunity with all workplace disruption – often we can’t see this right away when in painful disruptions – we do need to acknowledge and be with the pain of any loss or interruption in our lives. The opportunity is in what we do to be resilient and ready for an ongoing reality of disruption as our new normal.

Here is what we can do as individuals with ongoing workplace disruption:

  • Build our resilience ability through the mind – learn to think and process in new ways – challenge yourself to read and watch different points of views to your own.
  • Practice seeing things through multiple lenses – the ability to process workplace disruptions as new information with multiple perspectives is a future of work skill that every one will need to develop.
  • Recognize your ‘triggers’ and reactionary responses – the US election demonstrated the extreme polarity of thought between the two sides of the election – the reality is that it didn’t matter who won – there would have been riots and protests either way. Everyone needs to learn to see from other people’s perspectives ,observe the emotional triggers and choose to act with a calm approach.
  • Focus on building the creativity intelligence – creative thinking is a skill that will be highly prized in the future and the more you can do now to hone your creative thinking skills the better equipped you will be for ongoing disruptions.

The workplace is going to continue to be disrupted through technological innovation, robotics, gamification, automation, demographic shifts and more. There is an urgent need to accept workplace disruption as the new normal now and for the future and here is what to do to better prepare for future disruptions:

  • Accept ongoing disruption as new normal – globalization, government changes, changing policies, global catastrophes, these are all part of the ongoing fast pace of change. Accepting disruption allows you to move to creative solution a wee bit quicker than if you ‘hope things will go back to the way they were’. If you hope things will go back or be the status quo you will find ongoing struggles with future disruptions.
  • Prepare yourself and your teams with the skills needed to navigate ongoing fast pace of change – EVERYONE needs to learn how to be change leaders. Change leaders are able to leverage the cycles of change that lead to solution such as the discovery phase, the optimism phase and the future focused solutions phase. Skill development is the secret to resiliency in the face of ongoing disruption.
  • Practice and role play potential disruptions within your company. Worried about a competitor disruption? Role play it as if it has happened already – what would you do? What would your strategies be? Then put what was learned from the practice run into best practices to prepare for potential disruptions.
  • Build a creative culture – he or she who has the most creative intelligence will be the winners of the future. What is your company doing right now to develop individuals and teams to be more creative? What are you doing to reward creativity?

There is no value in focusing on the past and ignoring the calls of the future – this is the same as keeping ‘heads in the sand’.

Disruptions are a gift – they force change! When we can see every single disruption this way we can shift towards solution and improvement very quickly. Resistance is futile.


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